* Cairn seeks fines of 2 mln euros/day as deterrent
* Greenpeace involved in campaign to halt Arctic drilling
* Cairn hopes to open up multibillion barrel oil province (Updates with Cairn statement)
By Tom Bergin
LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) - UK-based Cairn Energy (CNE.L) has filed a legal action in the Netherlands, seeking fines of up to 2 million euros a day ($2.9 million) if Greenpeace protesters again disrupt the explorer’s drilling plans offshore Greenland.
A Cairn spokesman said on Thursday the action was intended as a deterrent after Greenpeace ended a four-day protest which involved protesters hanging suspended from a drilling rig in a plastic pod.
It was also intended “to ensure the safety of those involved in its operations,” Cairn said in a statement.
Last year, Greenpeace activists also launched similar action against a Cairn rig offshore Greenland.
Earlier on Thursday, the Danish navy removed the Greenpeace protesters from the semi-submersible drilling vessel, the Leiv Eiriksson, owned by Ocean Rig OCRG.NFF.
Greenpeace said in a Web posting that it had delayed drilling, which must occur within a narrow window due to harsh weather in the Arctic region, but Cairn denied this.
A Cairn spokesman said there had been “no impact on schedule.”
Cairn said such protests could cost it $4 million a day.
Following BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, concern about the difficulty in tackling offshore spills has increased and environmental campaigners have made Arctic drilling a key battleground.
The track record of companies suing protest groups is a chequered one, with court action often serving to garner publicity and sympathy for the campaigners.
Cairn’s shares closed down 2.8 percent, lagging a 2.0 percent drop in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index. .SXEP ($1 = 0.6900 euro) (Reporting by Tom Bergin, +44 207 542 1029; Editing by Jane Merriman, Erica Billingham and Matthew Lewis)